Monday, December 1, 2014

Postcards from Prague


So, it has been quite an interesting week: after deleting my Instagram account and getting rid of clothes I wasn't wearing anymore, I finally made it to Prague with my partner in crime, Cláudia. Some cities are pretty but Prague is beyond beautiful. This city is home to wonderful architecture and stunning sights; probably not the most vibrant or the most multicultural place in Europe but hands down one of the most pleasing to the eye. Discovering the narrow medieval streets of the old town was a dazzling experience, even in the crowded Christmas markets packed with tourists (mainly excursions and couples), and certainly more alluring than Czech cuisine, which was a bit limited and unimpressive, dominated by meat, gravy, cabbage and dumplings. The first meals were delicious but after a while we got tired of eating either pork or duck on a daily basis. Not exactly a foodie paradise, I reckon. We avoided repeating those heavy portions several times though - street food (yummy, crunchy, hefty sausages!) and Vietnamese pho lived up to our expectations. 

It was quite chilly all the time (we kept on saying "Winter is coming...!" and dressed a bit like chic wildlings) and the Vlatva river managed to make the numbing cold breeze sneak into my bones and muscles, so mulled wine as an after-breakfast option was one of the best ideas crossing our mind in the crisp morning. We spent the evenings in the warm hotel room, enjoying the  sauna-like heating, the telly and the bed, getting ready for the next morning, when we had no choice but to wake up early and seize the day until a premature dusk around 4pm. The Jewish cemetery, the Alchemy Museum and Klementinum (where the Astronomical Tower is, along with one of the most beautiful libraries I've ever seen) were my favourite spots. And of course, the clichéd Karlov Most aka Charles Bridge is really something, albeit constantly crowded with tourists taking selfies and touching the religious statues. 

Regarding the Czech sense of hospitality, well... Let's be honest, the Czechs didn't strike me as a friendly bunch, with their cold, distant manners and Soviet/German-like austere conduct. Maybe it's my Mediterranean nature or perhaps it's the ruthless weather and lack of sunlight that makes people more taciturn. I didn't spot a smile or a laugh in the locals and I guess I've made a fool of myself by literally laughing out loud in the middle of the old town square, surrounded by muted, silent pedestrians. For those who drive, I wouldn't recommend you to experience the traffic in Prague - jaywalking was always an adventure and the bus was just about colliding with another vehicle on its way to the airport!

Anyway, we walked so much (+10kms in the first day) that we felt like there was nothing else left to see. Our last day was spent in this quirky Absintherie (Black Friday became Green Friday, said Cláudia) in the old town, where we got our fix of thujone and wormwood and had an entertaining time watching American hipsters snapping shots with the Green Fairy. I also indulged in Becherovka, a Czech herbal bitters similar to the likes of Jägermeister and Listerine, and according to Wikipedia, often drunk as a digestive aid (it makes sense, considering the heavy meaty local food). 

Prague was definitely one of the most spectacular cities I've ever visited, it felt like time travelling and it wasn't very expensive compared to other capital cities. It's a great honeymoon destination, everything about it is downright romantic and enchanting: the charming alleys, the view to the river and all those bridges, the gothic and baroque cathedrals and plenty of Art Nouveau wonders to stare at. However, I didn't enjoy its vibe, or the lack of it - we can't have everything, right? Go there, by all means, if you haven't yet - 5 days are more than enough to explore Prague. I kinda regret we didn't visit other towns like Karlovy Vary or Český Krumlov but oh well, we were too tired and lazy anyway. I bet you'll be a lucky one if you happen to visit Prague when it snows, for extra Christmassy flair and Wintery whimsy.

23 comments:

  1. oh my Prague looks beautiful! I would adore to go. The photos are amazing and I am pleased you had such a good time!xx

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  2. Aaaaah how beautiful!! And I love the gloomy wweather in places like that, but maybe as you said not for too many days...! Every photo you took is just a perfect scenery! You've really travelled much these last months, right?! I'm sure it has been full of experiences! (actually did you find any cheap rates in flights? I was looking for Budapest flights but the cheaper tickets were aroun 80euro.)

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  3. Lindas fotos. Gosto de todas, e especialmente as do rio, ou junto ao rio.
    xx

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  4. Uau, lindíssimas as fotos. Adoro postagens assim, sobre cidades, ruas, comidas, etc. Dá pra ver como o lugar é. Tenho muita vontade de conhecer Praga, deve ser um lugar incrível.

    http://www.cerejasnotopo.com

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  5. Aah I love Prague, it's beautiful! You're right in that it's probably not the most vibrant/happening city though. I've noticed a few people say that the people there aren't too friendly but I actually didn't notice that when I went!

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  6. these photos are absolutely breathtaking. I need to see Prague someday!

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  7. É uma das minhas cidades preferidas. Cerveja perfeita; street food maravilhosa para tratar de ressacas e álcool a mais (ai Becherovka!); gentes belas, tremendamente afáveis e sociáveis (falo dos jovens, pois os idosos espelham o "silêncio" da passagem comunista), e a melhor iluminação noturna de todo o planeta! Vivê-la a partir de Novembro é algo que todos deveriam fazer antes de morrer... principalmente percorrê-la com Neve! Surreal! Otherwordly!!

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  8. Wow, é tudo o que me ocorre dizer. Praga, a par com Salzburgo é daqueles destinos que para alguém como eu que detesta viajar, me chama constantemente. E eu cá não me importava de comer pato o dia todo ahahahahah!!
    http://bloglairdutemps.blogspot.pt/

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  9. Não fazia ideia que Praga era tão bonita! Adoro os telhados vermelhos na paisagem, meio outonal mas achei a cidade meia parada (pelas fotos claro). Já agora, a foto do pássaro no chão é uma das minhas preferidas das que tenho visto no blog, a sério está tão bem feita, parabéns! E a tua foto, daaaaamn, tás linda! Uma das minhas amigas falou-me em visitar Praga e olha que depois do teu post fiquei ainda mais a babar por essa viagem :3

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  10. Queria tanto ir :) Ando a morrer por uma série de capitais europeias, mas aos poucos :))
    Pelo menos vi um bocadinho!!

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  11. Brilliant photos, one of the cities I really wanna visit someday!

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  12. *___* As tuas fotos deixaram-me cheia de melancolia e saudades de Praga!!
    Sem dúvida umas das cidades mais lindas que já visitei... vai ficar sempre no meu coração <3
    E acho que visitas-te Praga na melhor altura, o outono condiz mesmo bem com a cidade. Se bem que em Janeiro com a neve também vale bem a pena !
    Quanto à comida concordo plenamente, ainda hoje só de pensar em comida checa fico agoniada :p se lá tiveste uma semana agora imagina 6 meses a comer essas delicias... mas se há coisas que tenho muitas saudades é da docaria deles, espero que tenhas provado o bolo de mel Medovnik :p

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  13. I love Prague, walking the streets always makes me feel as if I'm in a beautiful fairytale.

    /Avy

    http://mymotherfuckedmickjagger.blogspot.com

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  14. nice photos :)

    http://ourheartsfullofhim.blogspot.sk/

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  15. prague is such a beautiful place, i really don't feel like i got to spend enough time there when i went. it seems like the kind of city with a handful of touristy things to do like the square and the castle, and then you can spend the rest of your time there wandering around and stumbling across interesting places to eat or stop for a drink or walk by and i didn't get to do enough of that.

    little henry lee

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  16. really stunning photos - makes me long for prague. i visited so many years ago but seeing these pictures in some familiar places, some now - has made me miss prague. "Regarding the Czech sense of hospitality, well... Let's be honest, the Czechs didn't strike me as a friendly bunch, with their cold, distant manners and Soviet/German-like austere conduct. Maybe it's my Mediterranean nature or perhaps it's the ruthless weather and lack of sunlight that makes people more taciturn. I didn't spot a smile or a laugh in the locals and I guess I've made a fool of myself by literally laughing out loud in the middle of the old town square, surrounded by muted, silent pedestrians. For those who drive, I wouldn't recommend you to experience the traffic in Prague - jaywalking was always an adventure and the bus was just about colliding with another vehicle on its way to the airport!" I had to laugh as I read this. I just had a bit of a I-hate-Germany moment last week for the same reasons - will have to fill you in on facebook some time ;) Americans are also inclined to be a lot warmer and understanding than those here in Berlin :(

    rae of love from berlin

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  17. Prague is such a wonderful place, isn't it? I loved it when I was there - at New Year's Eve a few years ago, and maybe that is why I experienced the people there to be a friendly type!

    Have a great day,
    -Kati

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  18. you were so close to me <3 i love prague in your lens <3 so magic !

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  19. Ainda hoje sonhei que viajava até Praga. Gostei basdtante de lá estar, apesar de ter tido um episódio um pouco desagradável, aconselho vivamente ás pessoas a irem lá!

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  20. It's been over 10 years since I've been in Prague. Thank you for sharing photos, it still look lovely, but I think I will visit next time during spring or early autumn.
    Well, when it comes to outside us Easter Europeans tend to be harsh, but when it comes to inside we are actually pretty friendly and hospitable. If you liked Prague you should visit Krakow as well

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  21. Prague through your lens is truly amazing! Really loved reading about your experience... it will be a good guide if I ever visit there :)

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